Scheduling & Automations
What is an Automated Campaign?
An automated email campaign consists of multiple emails based on different topics and content that run for a period of time without the need of any user interaction to send further emails out to your contacts.
Unlike ordinary email campaigns, automated ones automatically cipher off recipients into different tracts depending on peoples response and engagement (or lack of) with the emails that they receive. This means that automated email campaigns are great for funneling prospects through your sales pipeline without any manual intervention.
Recipients can receive content that is relevant to their customer journey stage. When they engage with a call-to-action and move to a new stage in their customer journey, automation allows them to seamlessly move onto a different track and receive emails more relevant to their new stage of the customer journey.
The output is having a fully automated email campaign that schedules and sends specific content to prospects without the need for any user intervention in order to increase sale conversion rates. There are a number of automated actions that can be triggered through such a campaign including; scoring contacts based on engagement with emails (called, lead scoring), adding or removing contacts from lists, adding prospects to a sales pipeline, and many others.
Small-business owners often don't have the time to analyse the detail of every email sent, and then create new response emails 'on-the-fly' to individual contacts. To do so would be a very time-consuming and ineffective process. But through automation, you can automatically re-send a particular email with a different Subject Header to people who didn't open it the first time it was sent. This can be a very effective tactic to increase open rates.
The following example from the Online Marketing Institute shows an automated email campaign structured in the way of a decision tree, where every action and potential response is mapped out with resulting actions.
An example of an effective automated email campaign
A well-thought-out automated campaign can greatly help in nurturing leads by offering contextual based content designed to move them along in their customer journey.
For example, if someone who is not currently a customer signs up to receive regular news about your company from your website, they have shown interest in your brand but at this point have not indicated in any way that they have a problem that needs solving.
Your objective is to build a relationship with the prospect through a Brand Awareness campaign. You need to engage with the prospect on a regular basis to provide them with useful information relevant to any problem or pain you assume they may have. Your emails may contain brief snippets of how you have solved particular problems for current customers, with a link to the full story.
Your automated campaign monitors the emails that you send, tracking how they engage with the content. When the recipient clicks on a link regarding a particular problem you solved for a customer, you can assume they have an interest in a similar topic.
The content you now send changes from a generic Brand Awareness styled campaign which talks about what your company has been up to, into a Nurturing Lead campaign where you begin talking about a specific theme.
You are making an assumption that the recipient has a particular problem that needs solving, but they are still not ready to be approached for a sale. The recipient's behaviour has changed from opening emails and not engaging with the content, to clicking on particular links to read further information about a certain subject. Your automated campaign responds accordingly to the change in your prospect's behaviour moving them on to a new track.
Your automated campaign is set up in advance with a range of different content suited to a variety of objectives. The emails now being sent to this prospect become more focused on providing a solution to their individual needs.
During this stage, your automated campaign is set to send a sequence of emails over a period of time (1 every fortnight) which explain in detail how your product or service has regularly solved this particular (or similar) issue for other customers and how they have benefit from doing so.
Your automated campaign has also been set up to track how many emails the recipient opens. Upon the recipient opening 5 consecutive emails a trigger has been set up that moves the prospect into a new Direct Sales campaign. This is because you have a new assumption that they are now actively looking for a solution to their problem.
Through this completely automated process, the prospect begins to receive information directly related to buying your product or service. Now, through tracking and monitoring, you may have a trigger set up that responds to any actions the prospect takes after engaging with further emails. For instance, you may have a trigger which now sends the prospect an email offering a 10% discount if they visit your website directly after reading an email featuring content regarding the price of your product or service.
See the video below from Technology Advice for a great explanation of the difference between Email Marketing and Email Marketing Automation.
Designing your automated email campaign
When you approach the design of your new automated email campaign you need to consider the point at which the recipient receives, or engages with an email, and what information you need to know in order to move them a step closer to your objective. Whether that is an overall objective such as making a purchase or a smaller goal such as moving the prospect from a brand awareness campaign to a lead nurturing campaign.
You should think about what you want the prospect to do after receiving an email. And if they do what you want, then what? What does it mean to them or you if they don't? The whole automated process is about leading the prospect to achieve your goals and objectives over a period of time.
It is best to design your automated campaign around your customer journey map as this already provides a framework to build your campaign around. You should drip feed content to subscribers at regular intervals to provide the information they are looking for that relates to the particular stage they're at. Then, use clear, strong, call-to-actions that provide stepping stones for the recipient to move on to the next stage.
When the prospect meets your set criteria through the level of engagement with your emails, have them move on in the automation process to receive different content topics that are more relevant to their new location within the customer journey